Chauncey Bailey Project

Bailey Project gets Columbia University prize

Staff reports,  The Oakland Tribune

Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism has named the Chauncey Bailey Project the 2009 Paul Tobenkin Memorial Award winner for best reporting of racial bias and intolerance, the university announced Thursday.

The award, which carries a $1,500 prize, will be presented May 19 at the school’s Journalism Day Ceremony during commencement week at Columbia.

“The work, the results and impact of the Bailey Project represent the value of investigative reporting to our democracy,” said Robert Rosenthal, executive director of the Center for Investigative Reporting and executive editor of the project.

“It is hard work, done by skilled and passionate journalists who believe they can make a difference in our society,” he added. “The business of journalism is under assault, but the need and value of the journalism that is being eliminated has never been greater.”

The project, a unique collaboration between nearly three dozen Bay Area news outlets, freelance journalists, journalism schools, and local and national media organizations, was started to probe the 2007 murder of Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey, who was investigating Your Black Muslim Bakery in Oakland.

“It’s an honor to have been selected for this prestigious award,” said Martin G. Reynolds, Oakland Tribune editor and project participant. “Now that we have reached this milestone in the investigation, it’s time to reflect and take a moment to think about our fallen colleague and his family.”

More than a 150 stories have been produced during the 20 months since Bailey’s death, appearing in dozens of Bay Area news outlets such as the Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, New America Media, KTVU-TV, CBS-5, ABC-7 and KQED-FM.

As the series of stories unfolded, the Oakland police chief resigned and the lead police investigator was suspended for failing to document evidence against someone now charged in connection with the murder. State and federal law enforcement agencies now are investigating a conspiracy surrounding Bailey’s murder.

Ernest Sotomayor, the Journalism School’s director of career services who served as a Tobenkin judge, cited the project for “connecting the dots when no one else even saw the dots and when many in law enforcement didn’t even want to see if there were any dots,” he said.

The Tobenkin Memorial Award is given annually by the Graduate School of Journalism to recognize courageous work on racial discrimination and intolerance.

The Chauncey Bailey Project partners and supporters include: the Bay Area News Group-East Bay, which includes the Oakland Tribune and Contra Costa Times; KTVU-Channel 2; New America Media; the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education; the National Association of Black Journalists; IRE; San Francisco State University’s Journalism Department; the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley; the California Endowment; George Washington Williams Fellowship; John S. And James L. Knight Foundation; the Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Chapter; and SDX Foundation.

One response to “Bailey Project gets Columbia University prize”

  1. Improvise says:

    To everyone involved with the project – thank you very much!!!!

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